April Academic Achievement Test Canceled amid Virus Spread

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Tokyo, March 17 (Jiji Press)--Japanese education minister Koichi Hagiuda said Tuesday that the nationwide academic achievement test scheduled for April 16 will not be held, following mass school closures in response to the new coronavirus epidemic.

Hagiuda suggested at a press conference that the education ministry will consider whether to conduct the annual test later this year or call it off while taking into account how widely the virus is spreading and the outbreak's impacts on schools. "We want to avoid a cancellation as much as possible," he said.

On the decision to give up holding the test on the scheduled date, Hagiuda said, "Some schools may need time to prepare normal education systems for the new school year from April, and it may be difficult for them to cover things that are not taught by the day before the originally scheduled test date."

The test is aimed at measuring the academic skills of a total of some two million elementary school sixth-graders and junior high school third-graders, covering Japanese language and mathematics in principle. The results are published around the summer.

The test in 2011 was canceled across the nation due to the giant earthquake and tsunami that hit mainly the Tohoku northeastern region in March that year. The 2016 test was called off across the southwestern prefecture of Kumamoto, which was hit hard by a series of powerful earthquakes in April in the year, and some affected areas in nearby prefectures.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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